US Justice Department charges 11 defendants with seditious conspiracy over Capitol riot

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Thursday charged 11 defendants with seditious conspiracy related to January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. One of the defendants includes Stewart Rhodes, leader of the American far-right anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers. 

Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers was arrested in Texas on Thursday morning. Nine of the other defendants have already previously been charged in a superseding indictment. The superseding indictment has been split into three separate cases: the seditious conspiracy case announced Thursday, a seven-defendant original case, and the third case against one of the previously charged defendants. 

The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that Rhodes and his co-defendants conspired to forcefully oppose the execution of laws governing the transfer of presidential power from former President Trump to President Biden on January 20, 2021. The defendants allegedly coordinated, planned to, and traveled to the Capitol on January 6 and brought weapons.

Seditious conspiracy can result in a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for DC and the DOJ National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The FBI’s Washington Field Office is investigating the case.

Since the Capitol riot, over 725 individuals have been arrested. More recently, in November, QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. In December, two individuals from Florida and Washington were sentenced for assaulting law enforcement. 

Also, in December, a district court sentenced a North Carolina man to 28 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge regarding a threat he made against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Another federal judge sentenced Eduard Florea, a New York man who applied to join a far-right group known as the Proud Boys, to 33 months in prison after he threatened the life of US Senator-elect Raphael Warnock ahead of the attack.